Annabelle (2014) Movie Review
Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: John R. Leonetti
Producers: Peter Safran, James Wan
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Date Released: October 3, 2014 (USA)
Annabelle Wallis as Mia Form
Ward Horton as John Form
Alfre Woodard as Evelyn
Tony Amendola as Father Perez
Kerry O’Malley as Sharon Higgins
Brian Howe as Pete Higgins
Eric Ladin as Detective Clarkin
Ivar Brogger as Dr. Burgher
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
John and Mia Form (Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis) are a happy couple expecting a baby soon. Mia, a doll collector, receives a porcelain doll as a gift from John. One night, Mia hears a scream from the house next door. One thing leads to another, and the Forms’ house gets invaded by their neighbors’ killers. One of the killers, named Annabelle, kills herself and seemingly attaches herself to the doll. Later, a demon that uses the doll as a conduit plagues the Forms – causing trouble especially for Mia and her newborn.
The early part of the film shows a murder scene that could induce shock to some viewers – especially since it’s quite action-filled with some sights of blood. However, I would say that it’s a relatively tolerable gory scene. Other events in the movie wouldn’t be classified as gory, but viewers should expect a handful of jump scares.
The Grave Review
Annabelle (2014) is a spin-off of The Conjuring (2013), but if you loved the 2013 movie, be sure to lower your expectations with Annabelle because it’s definitely not as terrifying. The Annabelle doll in The Conjuring looks promising, which is probably why many fans were disappointed when the spin-off was not what they expected. Annabelle is a half-baked movie that pretty much focuses on scares and sound effects. Nonetheless, the parts of the movie that worked for me and the parts that didn’t are actually quite balanced.
If you have a fear of dolls, the mere idea of the Annabelle doll having its own movie would probably terrify you to your core. The couple’s nursery may not be filled with so many dolls, but they’re just enough to give you the creeps and to become a nightmare for those with pediophobia. As a child, I was a huge fan of dolls and even had a favorite one that I would carry everywhere – but the sight of the dolls in the movie, especially of Annabelle, was still a little creepy to me.
Many viewers argue that a lot of scenes in the movie are quite ridiculous – such as when John decides to check out the other house after the scream instead of calling the police, or when John presents his wife with a creepy doll in the first place. While I agree that choosing to enter the house is quite absurd, the act of giving your wife a creepy doll is actually pretty justified. The doll is part of a set, and it’s something that Mia has been looking for. Despite the doll’s creepy façade to begin with, it makes sense why John would give that to his wife.
The scene where Mia approaches a stroller with a crying baby in the basement may also be ridiculous to some. They may take it as one of those scenes where the character foolishly comes closer to something that already appears to be creepy, but it makes sense why she does that. She’s a mom, and it’s probably her instinct to do so.
Notwithstanding their actions that we probably wouldn’t do if we were in their shoes, I believe some scenes actually worked out in this movie. I particularly liked the scene where Mia finds a drawing of her and her daughter, which she thinks was drawn by their young neighbor. What appears to be an innocent drawing at first is later followed by a series of other drawings showing a violent incident involving Mia and her child. Other movies may have used that approach too, but I think it worked out well in this one.
When compared to The Conjuring, Annabelle is surely nowhere near the former’s level of terror, writing, and direction. The acting also has a lot to improve on. Even without comparing it to its predecessor, Annabelle feels a little flat – and makes me feel that the good points and the bad points just balance each other out.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Annabelle (2014) two and a half graves out of five graves.
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